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Chicago | Master of

Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) Program

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Program Overview

The Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) is a graduate professional degree program that shapes future policymakers, public administrators, and community-based professionals seeking to impact systemic social change.

In the MPPA program, Adler University uniquely infuses its long-standing tradition of a social justice focus with core knowledge and skills in policy development and analysis, program evaluation, management, and politics necessary for work in the public arena including national, state, and local governments, policy research centers, consulting firms, community-action groups, and direct-service providers in the US and around the world.

The program requires 36 hours of course work with a minimum of 27 hours of Public Policy and Administration core course work and 9 hours of concentration course work. Over a two-year period, courses are offered with a schedule of classes designed to allow both traditional students and working professionals to complete the degree.

The MPPA program offers two opportunities for students to participate in real-life training and experience. First, through Adler’s Social Justice Practicum (SJP). The SJP begins in the first year and provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge during 200 hours of work with local partners. This practicum gives our students their first experiential learning experience in the program. Our students finish their program with more real-world practice through their Collaborative Policy Internship and Capstone courses.

At the end of two years, Adler MPPA students leave with the tools they need to become effective policy makers and administrators and build on leadership and management skills to participate and contribute in the process of creating healthy local and global communities.

The Master of Public Policy and Administration offers a concentration in Health and Human Rights.

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      You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.



      As part of the MPPA, students will complete a concentration in Health and Human Rights.

      In the Health and Human Rights concentration, students learn how to lead policy and advocacy efforts that foster community health, human rights, and social justice domestically and internationally. This concentration trains policy professionals to work in governmental, nonprofit, or private sectors applying established human rights standards, laws, and treaties within the context of community health. Students focus on broader social, economic, political, and environmental issues in a theoretical and historical context within our practice-based curriculum.

      Student Outcomes

      The Master of Public Policy and Administration program delivers the core knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience necessary for effective policy implementation, organizational leadership, management, and finance in the public arena at the local, state, national, and international levels. Additionally, students are prepared to pursue opportunities at non-profits, research centers, consulting firms, community action groups, direct-service providers and other private-sector entities.

      Students will also learn the critical skills of communicating and collaborating with diverse groups within a rapidly changing society, and how to articulate and solicit new perspectives that develop community-driven solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems.

      Professional Skills within the Public Arena

      Graduates are expected to master core competencies in program development, evaluation, and management within the public service arena, as well as varied skills required for:

      • Program development
      • Advocacy and political activism
      • Policy interpretation and implementations
      • Organizational leadership, administration, and management
      • Needs assessments with program participants and communities
      • Evaluation research on program development and analysis of outcomes

      Careers in Public Policy and Administration

      The range of opportunities in public policy and administration continues to grow, within national, state, and local governments; research centers; consulting firms; community action groups; and NGOs and direct service providers in the United States and around the world. Our program is designed to prepare you with the skills, knowledge, and experience for roles specializing in healthy communities, such as:

      • Project manager
      • Program administrator
      • Community organizer
      • Policy analyst or researcher
      • Municipal planner/developer
      • Advocacy and policy council strategist
      • Community development specialist
      • Community leadership or advocacy
      • Nonprofit or for-profit community service provider
      • Government representative or legislator


      The Master of Public Policy and Administration program is 36 credit hours. Successful completion of this program includes the courses listed below.

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog.

      Core Public Policy and Administration Courses

      PPA 500 - Foundations of Public Administration and Policy (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to the historical and theoretical foundations of public policy process and administrative services considering key participants and the environmental context.

      PPA 501 - Political Economy and Economic Analysis in Public Policy (3 cr.)

      In this course, students learn the basic economic tools and microeconomic models relevant to current policy and public sector choices, including the role of government in a market-oriented economy, with an emphasis on market failures.

      PPA 502 - Ethics, Diversity, and Socially Responsible Practice in Public Service (3 cr.)

      Provides students with the essential framework for personal and professional ethical decision making applied in the context of diverse workplaces and organizations.

      PPA 503 - Collaborative Policy Internship (3 cr.)

      In this course, students use their understanding of policy to engage in experiential learning that offers them real-world opportunities to apply their knowledge.

      PPA 504 - Public Finance and Budgeting (3 cr.)

      This course provides students with a basic understanding of the methods used to analyze and evaluate public sector finances including revenues and expenditures.

      PPA 505 - Applied Research Methods: Models and Analytics (3 cr.)

      This course addresses the assumptions, approaches and methods underlying the development of research in public policy. Covering the fundamentals of the research process from the inception of the research interest to information dissemination, students explore all the necessary requirements to conduct research on a public policy issue.

      PPA 506 - Applied Research Methods: Applications (3 cr.)

      This course offers an advanced investigation and hands-on application of, qualitative and quantitative, and mixed methods research approaches within a policy context.

      PPA 507 - Organizational Leadership and Public Sector Management (3 cr.)

      This course introduces the knowledge and skills related to strategic management and leadership in government and public services including the articulation and aligning of organizational goals in accordance with the mission; negotiating the complexities between service delivery and resource constraints; managing organizational changes; establishing measurements for outcomes; creating efficiency within production; and maintaining high staff motivation.

      PPA 508 - Qualifying Exam: Capstone (1 cr.)

      All MPPA students will engage in this final reflective and summative course that offers time for analyzing and producing final deliverables from their experiential work in the program and passing their qualifying exam.

      SJP 513 - Social Justice Practicum I (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that begins in the fall term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      SJP 514 - Social Justice Practicum II (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that continues through the spring term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      Health and Human Rights Concentration Courses

      HHR 512 - Human Rights & Health Policies Outcomes (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to the field of human rights and its application to health policies and outcomes in today’s world. Students develop a critical understanding of the main issues that intersect and shape human health from a human rights framework. The course examines key determinants that shape health outcomes, social distribution of health and disease, and health disparities within the backdrop of historical moments in the development of human rights law.

      HHR 513 - Human Right to Health (3 cr.)

      The human right to health is protected in multiple human rights treaties. Several countries around the world, most notably South Africa, have used the human right to health to adjudicate the quality of life needs for all citizens. A human right to health includes rights to mental as well as physical well-being and is not merely an absence of illness. Students learn what a right to health constitutes, how governments use the human right to health to make decisions about healthy living and public health issues (such as a right to clean water). Students examine the use of human rights law in overall health assessments as well as the development and operationalization of the right to health within communities.

      HHR 514 - Contemporary Human Rights and Health Issues (3 cr.)

      This course examines themes directly impacting human rights and the health of the community and its members. It provides students with an overview of the importance of human rights and health issues as they relate to public policy or the administration of public services. Each issue provides students with an overview of the policy issues, historical-current debates, and local, state, national, or international policy questions related to human rights and health concerns.

      Social Justice Practicum

      200-hour internship to give students real world experience

      A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans two terms. Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.

      Learn about Adler’s Social Justice Practicum

      Admissions Requirements

      At Adler University, we take great pride in our diverse student body. Students represent a wide range of professional interests, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and academic and work histories. We admit individuals with a strong record of academic achievement and a commitment to social responsibility.

      Admissions requirements:

      • A baccalaureate degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from an international college or university.
      • A recommended GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and graduate coursework. Exceptions may be made for applicants who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or academic ability in other ways.
      • Approved applicants will be invited for an interview with faculty.
      • International students must have a minimum score in one of the following English proficiency tests:
        • 92 or better on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) with no band lower than 22
        • 7.0 IELTS overall with no bands below 6.5
        • PTE must have a minimum score of 66

      Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:

      • Application and application fee
      • Statement of Intent answering the following questions:
        • Why are you interested in your chosen field and program?
        • Why is Adler University’s program a good fit for you?
        • Adler University mission is based on social justice. Share your perspective of social justice.
        • What are your career goals and interests?
      • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
      • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
        • Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions
        • Unofficial transcripts may be accepted for any schools in which a degree was not
        • Applicants with international (outside the U.S. or Canada) post-secondary education should send a scan of their official transcript to the admissions office as this program is exempt from the requirement to complete a transcript evaluation. Please speak to your Admissions Advisor if you require more details.

      All applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be required to interview with a program representative. Applicants will be assessed on their academic background, work and/or volunteer experience, fit with university mission and the program of interest. Based on the interview, the decision will be (a) direct admission to the graduate program of interest (MPPA), or (b) denied admission.

      *Applicants submitting admission documents (transcripts, bank documents, English proficiency scores, etc.) that are found to have been altered or fabricated will be denied admission. Denials based on fraudulent documents cannot be appealed.

      Please submit all application materials including official transcripts to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

      Adler University – Office of Admissions
      17 N. Dearborn Street
      Chicago, IL 60602

      Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].

      Information for International Applicants

      Tuition & Fees

      Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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